The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The game that defined the series

I’ve been steadily working my way through every Zelda game in canon chronological order before the remaster of Link’s Awakening drops on Switch. I just finished my replay of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on Switch, and my quest is finally complete! In less than a month and a half, I finished all 10 Zelda games that come before Link’s Awakening in the official timeline. In slightly less self-praising (and probably more accurate) language: I, officially, have no life.

A Link to the Past established several Zelda staples

A Link to the Past established many of the aspects of Zelda gameplay we take for granted. It was the first Zelda game to feature the Master Sword, Empty Bottles, Pieces of Heart, and several other mainstay Zelda items. Additionally, it is the first Zelda game to introduce Link’s true, all-powerful arch-enemy: the dreaded Cuccos! Yep, A Link to the Past is the first game in the series to have both Cuccos and the Cucco swarm Easter egg. If Cuccos aren’t enough to get you to see how special this game is, nothing will.

Cuccos aside, A Link to the Past established so many of the things that I absolutely adore about Zelda games. For one, the Dark World and Light World parallel universe concept made its debut, which allowed players to switch between two different “versions” of Hyrule at will. Having both worlds and the option to freely switch between them really seemed to open up the already expansive (for the time) overworld. Besides the two overworlds, there are also several secrets to uncover throughout the game, including the money-hungry Great Fairy Fountain that upgrades your items. The culmination of these (and other) features really makes A Link to the Past one of the greatest Zelda titles to date.

Playing A Link to the Past today

Luckily, a Switch port released just a week or so ago via Nintendo Switch Online. This made playing the game in 2019 easier than ever. Also, not counting the new Switch port, A Link to the Past is one of the most-ported Zelda games in the series. You can still play the game on Game Boy Advance (it comes with Four Swords on the same cartridge), Virtual Console (Wii, Wii U, and New 3DS), and the Super NES Classic Edition throwback console that was released a couple years ago. Each of those ports plays nearly identically, so even if you don’t have a Switch or SNES, you can probably find a version to play.

If you’ve never given the game a shot, or if you haven’t played it in a while, I highly recommend picking up one of the ports of the game in the near future. The story is phenomenal, the gameplay is solid, and it is probably the second-most charming Zelda game after Wind Waker.

What’s next?

Now that I’ve finished my quest, you’d think that I’d be putting my Zelda games back on the shelf for a while. Well, if you thought that, you’d be wrong. I have a perpetual lust for more Zelda gameplay. As soon as I get off work on Friday, I’ll be rushing to my local game store to pick up my copy of Link’s Awakening for Switch. I’ll probably play the game nonstop all weekend. Are you as excited as I am for the remake, especially after our review? Let me know in the comments!

Josh Dawes
Just your average nerdy, geeky, dude from California. I'm pretty much obsessed with Nintendo and games in general. Favorite series: The Legend of Zelda (so much so that I even named my dog Zelda)

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